Tokyo, July 19 – Not even the overcast conditions or the oppressive humidity was enough to dampen the atmosphere surrounding the DREAM.10 – Welter Weight Grand Prix 2009 Final press conference, for the event set to take place at Saitama Super Arena from 4:00 p.m. tomorrow.
Event Producer, Mr. Sasahara pointed out “As the name DREAM.10 suggests, this is our tenth event. It is a huge milestone to reach this point, however I am looking forward to holding DREAM.20 and further events too. Welter-weight fighters have the power of the larger heavy-weights, though they still possess the speed of the light-weights. This makes me very excited about our event tomorrow.”
The press conference was opened by the introduction of Japanese newcomer Katsunori Kikuno and his opponent, the ever-exciting Brazilian, Andre Dida. After politely introducing themselves to the media, both fighters promised to put on an exciting match, with Andre confidently announcing it will be one of the best of the night.
Following them was two middle-weight fighters that appear as though they would be just as comfortable participating in a bodybuilding competition as they are at testing themselves at the ultimate level by competing in Mixed Martial Arts. Paulo Filho makes his first appearance in Japan since 2006, and he does so against the always aggressive Melvin Manhoef. Filho noted that he was happy to be back in Japan fighting and that he had a new tattoo on his chest of a pit-bull and a dollar symbol to signify he is “back” as a fighter too. Melvin is coming off a 27 second knockout victory over the infamously iron-chinned Mark Hunt though, and he has made no secret that he wants to end this one in a similar fashion.
Dong Sik Yoon makes his long awaited comeback from injury, and he does so at a contracted weight of 85kg against controversial ex-reality television participant, Jesse Taylor. Jesse said “I am proud and honored to be here, and I look forward to showcasing my skills to Japan and the rest of the world” while Dong humbly stated “I will do my best to show you what I can do tomorrow.”
The next pair of fighters are two of the most talented ground fighters in all of MMA. Vitor “Shaolin” Riberio and Shinya Aoki. Vitor said, “I am happy to be fighting in Japan again. And I am proud to be part of a card that so many top Brazilian fighters are fighting on.” Aoki continued to refer to himself in the third-person by saying “I will show you an Aoki fight tomorrow, and I hope my supporters will be able to leave the arena satisfied.”
One half of the Welter Weight Grand Prix reserve fight is another newcomer to DREAM. Team Quest fighter Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine said "I am excited and honored to be on this card, and I want to thank DREAM. I will make sure I do my best to put on an exciting fight.” Seichi Ikemoto backed that up with “We are the first fight of the night, so I will do my best to use tricky moves and be exciting to get the crowed pumped up.” He went on to say how thankful he was for a chance to get back into the tournament, and that he would make sure to win the fight.
The first of the four Welter Weight Grand Prix fighters introduced was Jason High. He took the chance to use Japanese to address everyone present. He said he would do his best, and that he would become the champion. The first person standing in his way to doing so is the enormously talented Andre Galvao. The decorated Brazilian fighter said, “Tomorrow will be one big party. And I will be the one partying the hardest, as I will be the one taking home the belt.”
The other Welter Weight Grand Prix fight is between local hero Hayato “MACH” Sakurai and Marius “The Whitemare” Zaromskis. Marius calmly said “I am happy to be back in Japan. I will have an exciting fight; get the job done, and then go back home.” Sakurai said nothing as he was still trying to cut weight after having failed at the weigh-in earlier in the day by approximately 700 grams. Marius said that he didn’t care that Sakurai hadn’t shown up for the press conference, as he was just focused on the fight the next day.
Hayato “MACH” Sakurai did manage to make weight some hours later.
Any one of these four fighters has the chance to be crowned the Welter Weight Grand Prix Champion, and the match up between any of two the four warriors in the finals promises to be a headlining fight that will end the night in a spectacularly.
Mr. Sasahara also took the opportunity to announce DREAM 11. Despite the fact it was early expected to take place in September, the official Date is now October 6 and the location will be at Yokohama Arena. The event will be made up of the Feather Weight Grand Prix Finals, as well as the continuation of the Hulk Tournament.
The DREAM.10 Welter Weight Grand Prix Final is broadcast live on SkyPerfect in Japan, and on HDNet in the United States where it will be commentated by “The Voice” Michael Schiavello and Guy Mezger. Check your local providers for other areas, and keep reading K-1sport.de and http://www.k-1.co.jp/k-1gp/ for updates.